In a rather ironic move, Joe Biden — whom preliminary election results suggest is president-elect and who supports expanding the size and scope of the federal government — has started crowdfunding his presidential transition. The General Services Administration (GSA) has held up transition-related funds, claiming it is not yet clear Biden won the election. Rather than waiting for the GSA to change course, Biden has asked Americans to fund his transition, and he appears to be succeeding.
“Here’s the deal: Because President Trump refuses to concede and is delaying the transition, we have to fund it ourselves and need your help. If you’re able, chip in to help fund the Biden-Harris transition,” Biden tweeted on Friday.
Biden’s transition team has reportedly raised more than $8 million so far, hitting the initial goal of $7 million to $10 million, Politico reported.
While President Donald Trump is well within his rights to challenge the preliminary results in court, GSA Administrator Emily Murphy has arguably abused her authority by not allowing Biden’s team to access the funds. If Biden does become president in January, his team needs this time to prepare. If Trump’s legal challenges do indeed demonstrate that the president won more legal votes and therefore will serve a second term (an unlikely scenario), then the transition work will cease.
It is arguably better for Murphy to free up the funds for Biden’s team even if Biden ends up losing the election, just to avoid illegitimately hobbling the Biden administration. The peaceful transition of power is a central American value, and the government should follow the preliminary results of the election until such a time as those results are overturned.
Ironically, Biden’s success in fundraising for the transition may demonstrate that key government functions need not rely on tax dollars. If Joe Biden can fundraise for his transition team, perhaps the federal government should rely on crowdfunding, rather than compulsory taxation, for more of its functions.
Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.